Rep. Pete King of New York said today that he will co-sponsor a House Democratic proposal, H.R. 4444 (115), to fund multi-employer pensions.
He is the first congressional Republican to do so.
“It’s the best one that’s come forward,” King said of the bill. “These are people who worked hard, they’re not looking for a giveaway. It’s not through any fault of theirs that their pensions are being cut dramatically.”
King announced his support at a press conference in Hempstead, N.Y., today, appearing alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He said he agreed “back in December” to co-sponsor the bill, and resolved to announce his support on the first day the House was in session before a calendar change.
King told Teamsters in Hempstead he would “do all I can” to get more Republican co-sponsors. “We’re gonna get others.”
The bill is the House version of the Butch Lewis Act, S. 2147 (115), introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. The proposed legislation would create a new agency within Treasury that could authorize loans to troubled pension plans. Democratic leaders have made a pensions fix a top priority in budget negotiations.
The Teamsters applauded King for his decision. “The Teamsters Union thanks Rep. King for his leadership in co-sponsoring this bill,” Teamsters President James P. Hoffa said in a statement. “This legislation is too important to be delayed by partisan politics.”